The Associated Press released video footage from inside a Brooklyn public library as it hosts Drag Queen Story Hour for kids, something that has been scheduled every month since last fall.
The children sit around as a man who calls his alter-ego Lil’ Miss Hot Mess reads them stories and leads them in sing-alongs about drag queens. In the AP video, he reads a story about a female character whose friends think she should be less of a tomboy and dress and act like a girl. In another story, you hear the man read to the kids, “We can both be grooms.”
Lil’ Miss Hot Mess asks the kids, “Who wants to be a drag queen when they grow up?”
“Drag Queen Story Hour is fantastic because it addresses all of these issues of gender fluidity and self acceptance and all of these topics that, um, are real — are very, very real,” said Kat Savage of the Brooklyn Public Library.
And the packed room of parents apparently loved it.
“It was great!” one enthusiastic mother said. “So much energy.”
Another mother said, “You know, that’s what I’m looking for in all of our outings, is to present different ways of being in the world and make that fun and available to my kid.”
The library has received some backlash for hosting this reading hour, but Lil’ Miss Hot Mess, who doesn’t give his real name for fear of harassment, doesn’t mind: “Those are people who think gay people are sinful, or evil, or, you know, bad to begin with. So, we’re just starting from such different places that it’s kind of irrelevant to me.”
Plans are to expand the program to other libraries in New York City.
Vice did a short film on these monthly drag queen story hours when they began last year and discovered they also happen in San Francisco. A mother interviewed for the film said she’s already taken her daughter to two of them and is glad to expose her preschool daughter to the concept:
“From the very beginning, kids are pushed into these gender roles, which is absolutely absurd because they’re just kids. I want her to have the opportunity to just be whoever she’s going to be, and know that her parents are going to love her and be happy whether she’s a she or a he or anywhere in between.”
Watch Vice’s film below: